Smart Homes

You may have heard the term "smart home." Public utilities, tech companies, retailers and product companies all seem to be scrambling to enter the space, and only one thing is clear: no one is quite sure what "smart home" will really mean 10 years from now.

At the recent Dwell on Design event, a number of speaker panels addressed the idea. New high-tech products are being introduced all the time (such as the LED light bulb above singled out for it's excellent quality of light). But with appliances like crock pots and coffee machines now being operated remotely via an app, in its early stages, this smart home revolution can often seem like it's doing nothing more than replacing the Clapper with a mobile phone. 

Smart Home IdeasImages from Joseph Enterprises and Republic Mortgage

And this common belief among consumers is something that smart home advocates are quick to acknowledge. In a Dwell on Design panel titled "Today's Smart Home," Jeremy Warren (Vice President of Innovation at Vivint) acknowledged that his company is still very much in the exploratory phase, working with early smart home adopters to see what, how and why they use new technologies in an effort to bring relevant products to market in the years ahead.

In the same panel, Peter Taylor (Senior Product Marketing Manager at Belkin WeMo) touted new technologies that allow a homeowner to monitor and remotely control electricity usage habits, with the ultimate goal of helping them to conserve more and therefore save more. 

Dwell On Design 2014

Image from Dwell on Design

There are, of course, plenty of energy-saving products on the market already such as energy efficient lighting and LED light bulbs. But it's not hard to see where all this smart home talk leads: homes that learn our habits, track weather and our whereabouts can also adjust their environments (and consequently energy consumption) accordingly. Looking further, these data models could be fed into the power grid, allowing for more efficient production of electricity. 

And in a world where billions of people (yes, billions) are fortunately beginning to experience a higher standard of living and requiring more energy to do so, we can all agree that every little bit of conservation helps.

Images: Joseph Enterprises, Republic Mortgage, Dwell on Design